Owned Media: If You Build It They Will Come

Owned Media: If You Build It They Will Come

As a digital marketer, there are three types of media at your disposal: Earned, Owned, and Paid media. Each type has its own advantages, so let’s start by exploring what makes owned media so special:

Owned Media boosts visibility and SEO with content that users will find useful or interesting. It’s not the only way to gain visibility online, but not having any content of your own reduces the effectiveness of any paid or earned media that your brand has acquired. It’s easy to lose someone who has landed on a rather skimpy or uninspired blog, after clicking an ad or inbound link.

Basically, if you build it, they will come. Owned media is the content that your brand creates for itself, to attract, entertain, or educate online visitors. This can range from blog posts, to videos, to ebooks or white papers: as long as its relevant or useful to your ideal customer or persona, it’s fit to publish!

The downside to owned media is that it is time-intensive and results are not always immediate. The upshot is that failures can be leveraged: metrics from every piece of content generated can be used to better target your key demographics.

Owned Media is forever. What’s great about owned media is that it’s your brand’s property forever and ever. Unlike paid media (which is limited to your ad sales budget) or earned media (which can be negative or fleeting), owned media exists on your company’s website for as long as you keep it (and I’d suggest keeping it, to avoid dead links that affect your site’s SEO).

Owned Media is your best bet for brand reputation maintenance. You can’t control what others say about your brand online, which makes earned media a bit of a crap shoot. Owned media, on the other hand, allows you to guide the conversation around your brand, and the industry in which your brand operates.

In fact, you can do as one Bay Area restaurant owner did and turn bad earned media into an opportunity to create your own positive brand story.

Speaking of brand story: try not to make your content all about you! A good rule of thumb for creating effective owned media is to avoid the hard sell, and focus on telling your brand’s story. This means avoiding shallow, fragmented, or irrelevant self-promotion and focusing on what matters to your audience. It also means acknowledging where in the buying cycle a particular user may be.

The restaurant owner in the above example probably figured that those who visited his website from Yelp were in the “research” or “consideration” phase of the buying cycle, and used humor and a creative call to action (discounts for a bad review) to get them interested in making a reservation.

Next week, I’ll talk a bit more about how Yelp and other online forums and publications play into the “Earned Media” aspect of the “Owned, Earned, Paid” triad.

Has owned media helped your company or employer reach its goals? I’d love to hear your insights in the comments section!

3 Steps Buffer needs to take to compete with Hootsuite - Success Kid Gets It!

The 3 Features Buffer Needs to Compete with Hootsuite

During this week’s Hootsuite outage, I decided to finally use the Buffer account I had registered for months ago. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a short term alternative, but found that this San Francisco startup could make a few changes to its free app that would help Buffer compete against Hootsuite.

Here are the 3 features Buffer needs to compete with Hootsuite

1. Support for more profiles per user, on more social media platforms

Buffer needs to allow more than one account for each of the social networks it supports. The free version of Buffer allows you to schedule posts for up to 3 of your social media accounts, while Hootsuite’s free plan allows up to 5 social profiles, including Google + pages, foursquare, wordpress, Myspace, and Mix (not included on Buffer).

2. Give us streams!

One of the most useful real-time features Hootsuite offers is the ability for users to create customizable streams for each of their social network profiles. A user can choose to display just her home feed pane, or add panes to display most recent mentions, retweets, followers, DMs, lists,  favorites, scheduled posts, searches, wall posts, events, or popular discussions.

Adding a feed feature to its free version would make Buffer a better tool for monitoring and engagement. But what Buffer lacks in engagement potential, it makes up for in content curation capabilities… almost. Which brings me to my last suggestion:

3. Content curation customization (say that 3 times fast!)

Buffer and Hootsuite both offer great bookmarklets for Chrome. But from what I can tell, Buffer is the only social media monitoring tool that offers up its own content for sharing. “Suggested Tweets” are both homegrown and crowd-sourced. A user can choose suggested content ranging from quotes, to trending articles, to Buffer blog posts – which is great for community managers on a time crunch.

This is the most unique feature Buffer has to offer, so why limit it? Although the maximum of 5 content suggestions per day per profile is meant to incentivize free users to upgrade, it hinders user experience. Placing a limit on the number of suggested content posts without offering customization features means that users may end up stuck with irrelevant suggestions. What if Buffer’s algorithm doesn’t find the user what she’s looking for? A simple “This isn’t relevant” or “Don’t show me this kind of content” button would do the trick.

Lastly, after seeing a few repeats in my “Suggestions” queue, I’d recommend that Buffer include a few top fold calls to action, reminding users that they can submit their own content. This would likely make suggested content broader and deeper, while transforming Buffer into a viable syndication tool for content creators seeking more web traffic.

What are your experiences with social media dashboards? Do you prefer Hootsuite over Buffer?